Watch What Ants Do When A Phone Starts To Ring


Danielle Andrew

Editorial Intern

2177 Watch What Ants Do When A Phone Starts To Ring
Screencapture via VideoViralLab

Check out what these ants do when a phone starts to ring:




So why are they doing this? There are several potential explanations for their behaviour.

One may be that ants, insects that navigate by detecting the Earth’s magnetic field, have had their navigation systems knocked out by the ringing phone.

Or, it may be the vibrations of the phone that are exciting them. Or, it may have something to do with the ringing itself.


Even experts were unable to explain the behavior, which is seen often seen in ant colonies, but normally when they lose the scent of the pheromone that keeps them in contact with their main foraging party – army ants are entirely blind and rely on this scent to navigate, therefore when they lose it they begin to follow eachother in a circle forming a “death spiral” that only ends when the ants die of exhaustion.



Australian entomologist Nigel Andrew from the University of New England posed his theory to the press this week, “perhaps when the phone starts to ring, the radio waves it operates on messes with their sense of direction. A lot of ants use magnetism to orientate themselves. [They] have magnetic receptors in their antennae. If they're traveling long distances they use magnetic cues from Earth to know if they are going north, east, south or west.”


Opposing this theory, Australian social insect researcher Simon Robson from Queensland's James Cook University told ninemsn "there are many ants that actually start forming in a circle without the phone. It's an unavoidable consequence of their communication systems. Having the ants together like that, the shape of the phone may have something to do with it and the vibration might get them a bit more excited, but a lot of ants will do it even without the phone."

Alternatively of course, it could all be CGI fakery. What do you think?


  • tag
  • ants,

  • death spiral,

  • mobile phone,

  • cell phone